Radioactive ‘pin’ found in Australian desert

A few weeks ago it was discovered that a truck, while transporting a measuring instrument in Australia, had lost a highly radioactive and dangerous component. The 8 millimeter tube containing radioactive Cesium-137 was probably somewhere along the route of the transport, a road of 1400 kilometers that led mostly through the desert. Although the authorities considered it unlikely that anyone in the remote region would come into direct contact with the radioactive material, a major search was nevertheless launched. A search for a radioactive ‘pin’ in the Australian desert.

Radioactive ‘pin’ detected with radiation meter

Well, today it was announced that the search has been successful. The tube was found in the shoulder of the highway, about 50 kilometers from the destination of the transport. When you see the photo of the tube, between the stones and the red sand typical of Australia, it is hard to believe that the search has been successful.

However, because the contents of the tube contained the radioactive Cesium-137, a radiation meter could be used during the search. Even so, the search’s ‘expedition’ had to prepare for an area of ​​1,400 kilometers. After all, the tube could have fallen off the truck anywhere along that route.

Find is a great relief

The search team consisted of people from the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organization and the Department of Fire and Emergency Services. They were traveling along the highway at a speed of about 60 kilometers per hour when specialized equipment picked up a radiation signal. The team then found the tube using portable equipment.

The authorities in Australia do not assume that anyone has come into contact with the tube in the weeks that it has been lying on the roadside. The fact that it has now been found is quite a relief. Radioactive Cesium-137 can cause radiation sickness and/or burns when touched. The material is used in gauges for mining, one of the main industries in resource-rich Western Australia.


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